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World Cup Tech: Natural/Artificial Pitch Hybrids Dot South Africa

Illustration for article titled World Cup Tech: Natural/Artificial Pitch Hybrids Dot South Africa

The Beautiful Game is played on a beautiful field, typically one comprised of grass. So, when ESPN commentator Adrian Healy said 2 million artificial fibers were woven into the Moses Mabhida Stadium pitch this morning, I was dubious. No longer:

You see, for all intents and purposes the field is predominantly grass. Beautiful Game integrity intact! However, strengthening that grass are the 2 million artificial turf fibers that Healy had alluded to during the Slovenia/Algeria match this morning.


The tech is called GrassMaster (a brand name), and it's the work of Desso Sports, an artificial turf company that's been in the biz for about 20 years.

And yes, ignorant is me, as major teams like the Denver Broncos; and Premiership clubs in Chelsea and Arsenal have also installed the grass-turf hybrid in their respective stadiums.


Oh well, I learned something, and maybe you did too. European readers who knew about this stuff all along can feel free to lambaste yet another ignorant-about-football American. Free shot, but in my defense (defence?) I have played for more than 20 years—just never on turf. [Desso]

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To bring up an age old discussion, and to rile up the matter again:

As far as I know, America is the only nation that calls football soccer, which is a word derived from the term 'Association Football'. The sport itself dates back to ancient China, while its popularity is mostly in Europe and Africa. Most of the originating (in English at least) terminology is of Anglo-Saxon descent. The sport itself only gained (relatively - think 1960s onward) recent popularity in the U.S.

Considering that despite the lack of popularity, an awareness of football was present in the U.S., therefore it eludes me how it was decided to give the same name to a different sport (arguably less suiting to the actual sport, considering the lesser involvement of the 'foot').

But alas, the rest of the world went along with it, attaching the prefix 'American' to identify this other football.

Personally I recommend 'American Rugby' as a more appropriate name for the sport.

All patriotism and testosterone-induced-identification aside, how does the (international) commentariat feel about this?